Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

How To Build A Submarine

My post below on the picture of USS Virginia in the EB construction shed ("Land Level Construction Facility") got a lot of attention, so I thought I'd put together a quick primer on how submarines are built nowadays. It used to be that submarine hulls were "erected" pretty much all at once, and holes were left in the top of the boat; equipment was loaded in through the holes. Now, the boats are built in "sections". At Electric Boat, each portion of the hull is rolled in huge machines at their Quonset Point facility, and then barged down to EB in Groton. For the Virginia Class, both nuclear submarine shipyards are building portions of the boat, and they're assembled at one or the other yard; USS Virginia was assembled at EB, and USS Texas (SSN-775) is being put together at Newport News Shipyard. (Here's a picture of some of the hull sections at Newport News.) The sections (like this stern section) are loaded out with all the equipment, and then welded together and the various cables and pipes are connected up. (The machine that welds the hull sections together is pretty cool; you can see it in this picture covered up by the tarp just aft of the sail; it's basically an automated welding machine that goes around the hull on tracks.) This page has a lot of good information on the construction process, including a picture at the bottom that shows what portions of each boat are being built at each yard.
I had hoped to include some pictures of the hull-rolling process and some of the modules being loaded into the hull sections, but I guess they aren't out in the wild yet. Both are really fascinating processes.

Going deep...


Blogger Lubber's Line said...

Bubblehead, here’s a link to a photo of your hull-rolling machine at the EB Quonset Facility. The actual name of the machine is Automated Frame and Cylinder System (AFC). The $120 Million dollar facility was built in 1978-79 and resulted in me losing my first choice for a parking space.

8/02/2005 8:32 PM


Post a Comment

<< Home